Isn’t it paradoxical that the season meant to usher in the most peace has become one of the most hectic times of the year? There are lights to hang, presents to buy, packages to wrap, parties to attend, guests to host, Christmas baking to complete, cards to write… the list goes on. The frenzied pace of Christmas can make finding peace elusive. 

But it’s not just the Christmas season that can leave us feeling stretched. Throughout the year, we often feel the pressure of too much. In our scrambling state, we attempt to manufacture peace. We go to the spa, listen to music, practice breathing techniques, work out at the gym, spend time with friends, or go on vacation—each an elaborate effort to relax and find peace.

While none of these are a bad way to manage stress, I wonder whether they provide deep, lasting peace and true rest. And is that even possible? Or is this as good as it gets—a once a year, two-week vacation and the occasional massage? Somehow, we know it isn’t. But where do we find the real deal? Where do we find peace?

The truth is, we always have access to peace. Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27) Before Jesus left earth, he gave us his priceless gift of his peace. With our propensity to worry or be fearful, he knew it would be sorely needed.

In our troubled or harried lives, its easy to believe that peace is just a nice sentiment or an impossible state of mind. Amid our anxious thoughts, we wonder, where is the peace Jesus left for us? 

Nothing cures peacelessness like spending time with the Peace Giver. Nothing replaces the holy stillness found when we grow still. When we get quiet in God’s presence, his peace begins to flow and pivots our hearts away from our worries. When we steady our thoughts on him, our weary souls are tuned to the Prince of Peace. This is not the fleeting, fly-by-night fabrications or fluctuations of peace the world offers, but a secure, soul-settling, storm-weathering peace that dispels fear and worry.

It’s the kind of peace found in a lowly manger over 2,000 years ago. The kind of peace purchased on the cross by our Savior that, in turn, provided us with access to the Holy of Holies—a sacred stepping into God’s presence. It’s the kind of peace we often forfeit with fret and flustered rushing, but that is available this Christmas—and all year long—from Jesus’ outstretched arms. 

May we gladly receive the gift of Jesus and find peace and rest for our weary souls this Christmas and throughout the year.